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  Topic Review (Newest First)
11-26-2012 03:07 PM
Re: Hard vs Soft

Thanks all.
11-23-2012 06:21 PM
Re: Hard vs Soft

Hard. I have an 8-foot hard dinghy...very bouyant in the bow...good rocker but not excessive... it rows real well...stows real well...
11-21-2012 04:54 AM
Re: Hard vs Soft

Lin and Larry Pardey have an interesting chapter in one of their books on the hard dink/lifeboat kit. They have an inflatable collar around theirs and a canopy for protection from the elements. It's easy to build positive flotation and sealed compartments for survival gear into a hard dinghy. With a sailing rig, chart and a handheld compass, you become your own rescuer as you can head to the nearest land. Personally, I'd rather put my trust in a modified hard dinghy/lifeboat that I can visually inspect every time I use it than something that pops out of a canister (which may not inflate, may inflate upside down, may rip or come apart and may be impossible to board with wet clothes, may drift by land as I helplessly wait to be rescued).

Happycamper, the Chameleon has a design weight of 80lbs if I'm not mistaken. I'm going to build mine with thinner, but better, ply to get the weight down even further. Even at 80lbs it is the weight of an inflatable dink of similar length.
11-21-2012 01:46 AM
Re: Hard vs Soft

The problem ith most hard dinghy's if all boat passengers aboard in an emergency, you lack freeboard and stability unless you have a very large one. We're coastal inner water sailors, not blue water sailors nonetheless we carry a liferaft in a canister and have a hard dinghy which we can put on deck. Here the problem is as much hypothermia as anything else so while you may be able to stay in a swamped hard dinghy you'd have difficulty keeping enough of your body out of the water. Even with a raft you'll need some insulation. The most time limiting abandon ship situation for us is a fire.
11-21-2012 12:30 AM
Re: Hard vs Soft

Just thought I would add to the discussion.... I have a friend with a chameleon that looks nice enough but they weighs over 100lbs. I have to say too, the easy assembly in the water of the PT11 is impressive. terms of the life boat potential comment, ever read Steve Callahan's "Adrift"? or "The Bounty"? If I were to get stuck without an official life boat, I would rather have a hard dinghy with oars and better yet, a sail. I might still prefer the latter even if I had an official lifeboat. Then again, for somebody who does not like rowing...
11-20-2012 07:56 PM
Re: Hard vs Soft

I have a 14 foot portabote that works great for us. But we like to fish and explore with it. Its big comfortable to sit in while fishing and I don't have to worry about the kids putting a hook in it. I do love the looks and idea of the PT 11 nesting. Sailing magazine has a Bob Perry review on it this month. Might have to build one when the kids out grow their little 8 foot sailing dinghy.
11-20-2012 07:31 PM
Re: Hard vs Soft

An inflatable is more viable as a liferaft than hard as a lifeboat
11-20-2012 07:25 PM
Re: Hard vs Soft

Originally Posted by PAULCR1 View Post
More food for thought. I don't like the thought of rowing. That is like physical labor. I'm old and retired and gave that foolishness up. Seriously though, you all have given us a lot of great input. Thanks.
Well, then your decision is a no-brainer - it's some form of inflatable for you...

It would help to know what sort of mother ship you're talking about, but if you've eliminated the joy of rowing from the equation, you've eliminated one of the primary virtues of a hard dink...

IMHO, a RIB with a folding transom offers the ultimate single solution for most cruisers, and most boats...
11-20-2012 02:42 PM
Re: Hard vs Soft

+1 for the nesting dinghy. I'm going to build Danny Green's Chameleon nesting dinghy. It weighs about 75lbs (each piece about 35lbs) and can easily be manhandled on deck by one person. It also takes up little room on deck and I'll store mine behind the mast. I want something rugged and that can be dragged up on a beach and that rows well. I enjoy rowing and I don't want an outboard and all the hassles that go with it. I also want something more rugged and durable than an inflatable and lighter than a RIB (both of which don't row well anyway).
11-20-2012 12:39 PM
Re: Hard vs Soft

It is not a clear decision and depends on the type of cruising you are doing and what the mother ship is like. We have vane steering and hence no davits (ugly things anyway). We don't have room on the aft deck for a RIB and on the foredeck we have a removable inner stay so for offshore passages when we might want to have the staysail available we have no where to put a RIB even if we wanted to deal with the weight. We have used Walker Bay air floor dinghy with a 6 hp on it and it has met our needs - except that it is a piece of crap in terms of build quality, which does not negate the basic idea.
When we get home I am thinking of building a large (11') nestable dinghy so that I can motor, row or sail. I have no need to plane, I am a retired sailor and in no particular hurry.
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